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NZ Music Month 2007

Reports on nationwide activities

NZ Music Month logo
NZ Music Month logo

NZ Music Month turned seven on May 1 2007. It began in May 2001. Each May New Zealand music is featured not only through live performances but also on radio and television. The aim has been to make New Zealand music more visible and therefore more successful, and to create a commercially successful platform for local performers. Kiwi musicians needed to make a living from their music. Kiwis ought to have the opportunity to hear more of their own music. They were not hearing it on local commercial radio which in 1995 gave it only 1.6% of their airtime, preferring to play overseas recordings. A quota system was introduced to force commercial radio stations to play more NZ music. Airtime for New Zealand music on these stations grew to about 10% by 2000 and to 23% by 2005. A similar increase in hard sales raised the amount of NZ music sold from 5.45% of the total market in 2000 to over 10% by 2004.

NZ Music Month launched in Wellington by the NZ Prime Minister, Helen Clark
Miss Clark in her address at the launch emphasized the purpose and impact of NZ Music Month.

"Every year we reaffirm things on Anzac day, every year we reaffirm things on Waitangi Day. I think every year you reaffirm through music month that music, New Zealand music, has value to us, and that I think is the point of it. It's a focus on what's special about New Zealand music and supporting people who make it."

Miss Clark said that while music month increased the confidence in local music, the amount of airplay and the sales, it was not just about commercial success.

"There's some music that will be a big hit commercially at home and off shore there's other music we'll hear which we play for the sheer joy of it and not looking for a commercial reward at all. It's important to be supportive of the whole range of Kiwis out there making music and enjoying it."

NZ Music Month opened with a large free party in Christchurch.
NZ Music Month is a nationwide celebration, so everyone was invited to a party in Christchurch to attend for free!

Why have a nationwide celebration in Christchurch?
Mikhal Norriss, NZ Music Month 2007 explains:
"The city boasts a long tradition of producing NZ Music royalty from Ray Columbus, Max Merritt, and Chants R&B in the 60s to Salmonella Dub, The Feelers, and Bic Runga more recently, as well as this year's local chart-toppers Atlas and MTV Kickstart winners The Dukes.

"Christchurch is also home to one of the country's iconic music venues - the Dux de Lux, closing in on its 30th anniversary as a mainstay of the city's music scene. There's no better Christchurch venue at which to catch another night of great NZ Music, but who was playing, you ask?

"Headlining was the mighty Fur Patrol. It has been a long time since we saw them play (it was over 2 ˝ years ago!). Now the band has become a three piece and this May they are releasing a shiny new EP entitled 'Long Distance Runner'."

Mikhal was also enthusiastic in his comments about other bands on the programme, and commented on expected new releases.

Of the Christchurch band Pine : "Their music has been described as 'riot music for quiet people', and after their recent lounge tour of the nation they were delighted to help kick off NZ Music Month in style. Their new EP '12 Hour Collision' due out mid May features 7 new songs, 2 live tracks and some filmic goodness from their tour of NZ living rooms."

Of Christchurch local heroes Dukes : "After a busy time winning Ozzie fans over and a live gig on a 747 ( !), they came back to their home town to show you why. They performed songs from their up and coming sophomore album due out late this year… this is a band that you should definitely keep an eye on!"

Other featured locals included Black Market Art, Band Theft Auto and O.G.

Celebrations not just in Christchurch

Wellington began the music month on May 1 with a lunchtime performance by Adi Dick attended by the Prime Minister, the Hon. Judith Tizard, and National MPs Georgina Te Heu Heu and Nicky Wagner.

The Auckland Industry Music Month Launch on Friday 4 May showcased 10 kiwi bands, as well as a special performance of kiwi covers by the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra!

The Canterbury Philharmonia at their concert on Saturday, 5 May, played 'A Song of Islands' by the New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn, and combined with the Hagley Singers to perform Philip Norman's 'Shipwreck'. The Hagley Singers also presented Philip Norman's 'Plumsong'. Dunedin
Dunedin's very own public Music Month party in the Octagon featured three very special Dunedin acts, Leprosaurian, Anji Sami and Ashley Hinton, and Inside My Speech Bubble.

NZ Music Month tee shirts
Hallensteins stores up and down the country are once again selling NZ Music Month tee shirts.

Music photography exhibition – Auckland then Wellington
The music photography exhibition 'Sounds Like a Blur can be viewed at the Schooner Tavern, Auckland. Photographer Sean Aicken has taken photos of many kiwi bands over the past few years; now he is showcasing his work to the public, and selling the pictures with proceeds going to the bands' chosen charity. Later in the month (May 21) the exhibition moves to San Francisco Bath House, Wellington.

SkyCity throughout May are hosting free performances by Debbie Harwood, Katchafire, Batucada Sound Machine, Ardijah, Hello Sailor, Spacifix and more.

Auckland Art Gallery
The Auckland Art Gallery is also getting into the swing of things with free performances by Kiwi bands in the gallery auditorium every Saturday in May.

For a complete list of gigs happening during NZ Music Month check out the website.

Auckland Music Industry Showcase
On May 4 Auckland's Galatos was the venue for a music industry showcase that let plenty of great NZ acts show off their talents. Commencing with the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, the showcase treated a capacity crowd to performances by False Start, Fast Crew, Dukes, The Have, Luke Thompson, Fur Patrol, Lucid 3, Collapsing Cities, Motocade, and North Shore Pony Club. Phew! Big thanks to Samsung and Unitec for their support in making this happen. And rousing cheers to Lion Nathan for supplying the drinks!

Successes in the ratings
The month began with Hayley Westenra's album 'Treasure' as the number one album, Atlas with the number one single, and Opshop has the most airplay.

Libraries feature music activities
Libraries up and down the country are celebrating the month with live bands, workshops and all manner of fun activities - Mt Roskill Community Library, Auckland, Newtown Library in Wellington,. Dunedin City Library and Christchurch Central Library. To find out what is happening at the library close to you check out the website.

31 Reasons to Love NZ Music
New Zealand History online ( have selected a random collection of 31 Kiwi music stories, one for each day of New Zealand Music Month, to celebrate kiwi musical goodness.

"We're celebrating NZ Music Month with 31 reasons to love New Zealand music.

"Each day there'll be a different story about the people, songs and issues that are part of New Zealand's musical heritage. It's a selection of random notes, not a definitive history of New Zealand music. If it provokes any memories or ideas please feel free to get in touch and add to the collection. The page will be filled in as the month progresses, so keep an eye on this site developed under the New Zealand Music Commission.

Classroom ideas - NZ Music Month
A page on this website offers teachers interesting ideas on how material related to NZ Music Month can be used in classes on social studies and history, and can lead into further topics associated with the place of music in New Zealand culture and society.

NZ Music Month has a lasting impact all the year.
NZ viewers who read this during May will still have opportunities to attend gigs and listen to the radio. Remember if you read this after May 2007 that NZ music can be heard any time of the year and more often because of the impact of NZ Music Month.

The success of NZ Music Month may inspire readers elsewhere to initiate a similar celebration to promote their own local music.

Editor's comment
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